Unwilling Deception

After 70 years of slavery, two Fae, Elora and Tarian, travel together to a safe house, having to adjust to 'freedom' and to each other. With nightmares of their past and an impending future the journey isn't without it's struggles.

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3. 3: Tarian's POV

Authors Note: Sup Readers! Its me Ashme! So for this story, I would love, love, love, love it if you would comment what you think and what you feel about the characters. It helps me as a writer, and I would love to read each and every one of your comments. I will also try and reply to them all as well. SO tell me how you like the story so far; and FYI this chapter is a long one lol -- Enjoy!

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Standing outside the house, I waited for Elora. After our conversation yesterday afternoon, I had spent the rest of the day and a half preparing for our trip to the safe house. Elora finally made her way outside, bundled in a fur lined hooded jacket, a sword sheathed on her back, along with a bow and arrows. Daggers and fighting knives were strapped to her legs. Not that she needed the weapons, no I had seen Elora take down twenty of the kings men with nothing but her bare hands. “You ready?” I asked walking toward her, she said nothing, didn’t shake or nod her head so I shrugged. “Fine, don’t talk to me,” then I started to walk into the snow covered forest. Elora followed slowly after, braiding her long hair.

She had gone back to being silent after yesterday afternoon, and the rest of the day’s trek to the river was me trying to start a conversation, and Elora completely ignoring me. But, just as I had promised three days ago, we arrived at the river before sundown and found a camping spot. “You say the king wants me under his control,” she began, the first words she spoke since we left, “how are you so certain?” I paused, looking back at Elora, before continuing to clear the snow with powerful flaps of my wings.

“I was -” I started, taking a deep breath, “I was his daughter’s personal slave.” The fact was well known, but it still hurt to mention. Elora clenched her jaw as I continued, “She would tell me things, believing I was too dumb, or too drunk to remember.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Why? There was nothing you, or anyone for that matter, could do about it,” I said sitting on a cold log, still damp from the snow I had removed.

“I can still feel bad, can’t I?” She said, and I shrugged before moving to start the fire, needing to do something to distract my mind. “So she told you the king’s plans.” It wasn’t a question but I nodded anyway. “What are his motives for wanting me?”

I glared up at her, jaw clenched. She was just standing there, watching me. “I was hoping you would tell me, after all, I am risking my hide to get you to safety.” Elora scoffed, flinging her braid of snow white hair over a shoulder. I didn’t mean for my comment to sound so snarky, but it just slipped. It was true though, that I didn’t know why the king wanted Elora. All the king had said was that he wanted her for something, and I couldn’t just sit there idly. The ‘princesses’ slave, doing her dirty work, letting her sit on my lap, playing like her trained little pet. Now looking at Elora, I had to wonder if the princess wanted her dead. She looked like winter incarnate with white everything; her beauty unlike any others. I probably looked like death.

We let the conversation drop as I started the fire and began to cook our poor excuse for a meal. Afterward, Elora rolled out the blankets I brought and fell to sleep. The night wind was cold, and clouds began to cover the night sky. I laid down on my own blankets, but sleep didn’t come, so I watched the area around our camp, a hand close to my sword.

“Wake up!” Elora yelled, kicking snow into my face. Shooting upright, a hand on my sword as I scanned for danger. Nothing was amiss, the snow falling slowly, the fire nothing but ashes, our possessions in a pile where we left them.

Glaring at Elora, I asked, “What was that for?”

“I was waking you up-”

“I can see that, but why?” I continued, rubbing sleep out of my eyes before yawning. Elora looked fully awake, her hair now in a ponytail instead of a braid, her white jacket buttoned all the way up, weapons on fully.

“I wanted to get going,” She said as I started to roll my blankets, since there was no way now that I was falling back to sleep. Elora went to her own blankets and started to roll them as well, brushing off the snow. She threw the blankets at the rest of our belonging and I scoffed throwing my blankets as well before strapping on my weapons after stretching my wings. “They cut the other’s wings – why didn’t they cut yours?” Elora asked and I stiffened at the mention of cutting wings.

Wings were very sensitive, and any fae that had them would do anything for you not to cut them. I would have done anything that I could have if the king’s men had chosen me to cut. “I was lucky, I guess,” I answered, not completely sure why they didn’t cut my wings. In those first years, the king would bring winged fae to his throne room, and cut their wings for fun – the screams echoing down the long hallways into the chamber where they held us. The guards never chose me, maybe they were too frightened, or maybe the king’s daughter had told them not to cut mine.

Elora knew she hit a touchy topic and started to help as I piled on our stuff onto my back. “I’m sorry,” she whispered softly when we were about to leave the area, her breath making clouds in the cold. I shook off the tremor that raked its way down my back and gave a fake smile – one I had given for 70 years, one that said, I was fine, I was happy to be in the position I was in – thankful even.   

“Well, should we be off?” I asked; and not waiting for her reply, I swooped her into my arms and began to fly. Elora dug her nails into my shoulders, tucking her head in close to my neck, losing a silent scream as I dove toward the water before straightening out. This wasn’t entirely on purpose, sure tormenting Elora was fun, but I hadn’t carried anyone, let along someone with a whole bunch of stuff on my back, for a long time.

“You stupid winged male!” Elora scolded, still clinging to me tightly; I laughed smirking before dropping a few feet again, my wings burning as I rose to a higher elevation. “You are going to make me puke-” I dropped again, this time close enough for her toes to touch the freezing water. The snow hit my face hard as I flew faster, seeing the other end of the river approaching.

Wings, back, abs, legs, shoulders, chest, and arms hurting, we made it across the river. I set Elora down abruptly, unable to handle the weight much longer. But I couldn’t let that show, I was supposed to be Tarian, the strongest winged fae in the world; Tarian, who could race across the earth like the wind. Of course, those were false, and the only reason the rumors spread that I was the fastest and strongest, was because when the King was coming to power 80 years ago, I would do races. The stupid teenager I was, I would push myself harder, and faster, not caring if anything happened to my body, so much as I won. During those years, I also would cheat at the races, sometimes pay off a faster competitor. But the titles stuck, and those titles helped me survive being a slave.

“You okay?” Elora asked, and I nodded, shrugging off my jacket trying to get cool. I rolled my sleeves up to my elbows, and Elora’s eyes went directly to the scars, her red cheeks becoming even redder. “How did you get those?”

I ran my thumb across a couple of them, wincing at the memories of receiving them. “You can probably guess what these are from,” I said rubbing the shackle scars, Elora nodded. “That first year, the guards chained me to the wall, and not only by my wrists, but my ankles – and wings too.”

“Wings?” I nodded, extending both wings to the sides, revealing the dark grey scars at the apex of my wings, right beneath where the sharp talons protruded.

“I pulled on my wrists, because if I could free my hands, I could free my wings and possibly get out,” I explained.

“Did it work?” she asked, and I shook my head, letting out a fake laugh.

“No, not even close,” I paused taking a deep breath, “I ended up pulling my skin off, so the guards tightened the cuffs; cutting off circulation, as well as cutting into my wrists more. Thankfully I still have feeling,” I said rubbing the scars. Shaking my head, I started to pile everything once again onto my back. “Shall we?” I asked with a small smile, and Elora nodded.

I lead the way farther into the woods, heading toward a descent sized town called Bristle that was around three miles away. Snow started to fall during the second hour of walking, and I shielded Elora with one of my wings, the snowflakes tickling the soft membrane. The town came into sights as we peaked a hill, the lights sparkling off the snow. It was a beautiful town that I had only been to once before. That was around 73 years ago.

It was not as beautiful as I remembered. The streets were covered with snow and mud, feces in trenches, the smell making me gag. I could tell Elora was thinking the same, as she gazed down a side street where an old lady, in a torn summer dress, was walking barefoot. Mud stuck to her feet as she walked. “I don’t remember it being like this.” Elora whispered, dragging her gaze away from the woman.

“I know, me too,” I said continuing to walk. There were boarded up houses that were crumbling into dust, others were alright – a bit muddy, but alright. “We should set this now, I’m Gage, and you are Katheryn; we’ve been married for two ye-”

“We are not married,” Elora said, cutting me off.

“Yes we are. We look nothing alike, and it would be too weird for two friends to travel with each other,” I explained.

“No, I don’t want to be married to you,” Elora said glaring up at me.

I chuckled, putting a hand to my chest, “Ow that hurts. I find myself very attractive, anyone would be lucky to have me.” She just rolled her eyes, not smiling. “Elora, this is just till we get to the safe house; once we are there, you can go on hating me like normal, but for this trip. It’s better that we are married, because it keeps people away, and from them asking too many questions.”

“Fine; but you are not to kiss me, not to hold my hand – nothing without my consent,” she said sternly, and I nodded, it was better than nothing.

We continued to walk though Bristle, sticking close to one another. The plan was simple: we would find a group of people heading toward Villa Mont and join them. There would be one or two groups traveling there at this time of year, if not more. Our job right now, was to find a group that would let us join, and hopefully they wouldn’t ask too many questions.           

After we found an inn that would let us stay, Elora and I ventured the streets again until we found a suitable place to find someone. It was a pub, the aroma of sweat, grease and beer covered me as we sat down. A waitress came by and took our drink orders; and after she left, I leaned over and whispered in Elora’s ear, “Don’t drink, or eat anything in this place.” She nodded, her nose scrunched in distaste.

“Don’t worry, I wasn’t planning on it,” she said crossing her arms, leaning against the wall to her left. Soot off the walls clung to Elora’s white hair and pale skin, covering her tattoo.

Cocking my head, I followed the elegant designs on her hands, “What do those mean?” I asked and she followed my gaze to her hands before hiding them in her dirty white coat.

“They are nothing,” she said her eyes remaining downcast. I gave a sad smile nodding, knowing she would tell me if she wanted to, if she trusted me enough. The waitress came back with our ale before leaving again. I cast my attention toward the people around us, listening to their conversations for any sign that they were heading to Villa Mont. “What if we can’t find a group?” Elora asked, breaking my attention away from a group of men at the far end of the pub.

“Then we will have to travel alone; but I’d rather not during this time of year,” I said pretending to drink from my cup, the ale splashing on the floor next to me to make it seem as though I had drunk from it. Elora nodded, her blue eyes perceiving everyone and everything in the room.

She looked back to me, leaning into the table, “I don’t think we will find anyone here.” I nodded, having come to the same realization.

“We will try somewhere else tomorrow. If we don’t find a group in four days then we will leave by ourselves,” I said laying some money on the table before standing. Lending an arm to Elora, we walked out of the musty pub. I took a deep breath, loving the clean-ish smell as we headed back toward the inn.

“Why four days?” Elora asked looking up at me as we walked.

“The last day and a half will be to buy new stuff for the trek if we don’t find a group to go with,” I explained, keeping my wings in close so they wouldn’t brush on people as we walked through a crowd.

The group of people kept getting bigger and bigger, a number of them shouting at each other. “What’s going on?” Elora asked, gripping her rapier; I shrugged, continuing to push through the people. Then I saw what was going on.

“There is a fight,” I said, looking down at Elora before watching the fight.

“Why are there so many people?” She asked and I shrugged again, keeping my hand close to my weapons. Elora and I continued to inch our way to the inn, and we were almost past where the fight was going on, when someone gripped my arm, and drug me backwards into the fight – “Tarian!” Elora yelled trying to get past people to get to me.

In a fluent movement, I was out of the persons grip. It was a tall man with a shaved head, a scar on his neck, his eyes wide with anger. “Look what I found!” the man bellowed, giving a cocky grin that revealed rotten teeth, his breath smelling like tobacco and smoke. Three men turned from watching the fight to look at me.

“That’s not him Kreg,” one said, he had greasy red thin hair, his skin covered with mud or something other.

The guy that grabbed me, Kreg, snarled at the man, “This has to be ‘em.” Kreg’s words were slurred together, and he stumbled a step or two toward the man. “The man had wings, this one has wings,” he continued, gesturing toward me. The others studied me, and I made sure to have my hands in easy distance of my weapons.

“We know that,” another said. This one had thick black hair that was pulled into a bun on the back of his head. “But this one’s too pale.” I blinked a few times, unsure what to do. I carefully glanced behind me to see Elora trying to squeeze through the crowd.

“Too pale?” Kreg asked raking his gaze up and down my body, “I guess he is pretty pale.”

“What’s your name son?” The fourth in the group asked. He looked the most sober of the men, his blond hair shaggy and dirty, but he was otherwise civil.

“Gage, sir.” I replied, trying to make my voice sound young, like I wasn’t experienced enough to have killed them all.

“Gage, huh. I thought that girl back there called you Tarian,” Kreg said, spit falling from his mouth.

“My name is Tarian Gage Scottsdale,” I quickly lied, trying to act afraid. Elora finally broke free and ran toward me, sword in hand, ready to attack. “Whoa there, Katheryn,” I said, grabbing her arm before she could stab anyone. The first three men chuckled at Elora, taking in her small size as harmless.

“You two new in town?” The fourth said, shoving the others off, I nodded, pivoting Elora behind me.

“We are just passing through,” I started, my words a bit flustered, “my wife and I are headed to Villa Mont.” The man cast a glance at Elora than back to me, his gaze softened before he took my arm and started to push through the crowd.

“I’m guessing you two are staying at Rosejade Inn,” it wasn’t a question but I nodded. “Good, my brother owns it. My name’s Sean by the way,” he said letting go of my arm to shake my hand. We got through the crowd and continued to walk towards the inn.

“Thanks for getting us out of there.” I said earnestly, casting a look at Elora before grabbing her hand, squeezing it gently. She glared at me, but didn’t pull away.

Sean nodded, “No problem.” We walked all the way to the inn, mud sticking to our boots. “You said you two were headed to Villa Mont?” I nodded, “My family is going, and you two should come with.” I smiled down at Elora.

“Looks like we won’t have to search more,” I joked, and she just rolled her eyes. Sean laughed opening the door, Elora and I walked into the inn before Sean, and once we were in I let out a sigh at the warmth seeping into my bones.

“Sean, is that you?” a woman asked, walking out from a back room. She was petit, probably an inch above 5 feet, she had long brown hair, her brown eyes taking us in. One hand was on her swollen stomach as she walked toward Sean. “Welcome! My name is Adley, and you are?” she asked, and I assumed she was Sean’s wife.

I stepped forward, offering my hand, “I’m Gage, and this is my wife Katheryn.” Elora shook Adley’s hand before stepping back to my side.

“They are going to come to Villa Mont with us,” Sean explained with a smile, Adley’s smile turned broader.

“That’s great!” she exclaimed leaning into Sean, who placed a hand on her stomach, kissing her temple.

Elora brushed strands of white hair that had escaped the braid out of her face before speaking, “Who is all going?”

Adley broke away from Sean’s side and went to a sitting area off to the right, her blue dress drifted around her, and I saw Elora gazing longingly at it. “My brother and his family,” Sean began walking after his wife. I turned toward Elora shrugging, before following the man. “We leave in two days.” I nodded, sitting on a loveseat, struggling to adjust my wings to the weird angle. Elora walked slowly across the room before sitting next to me, crossing her legs.

“Two days?” I asked, draping an arm across the back of the sofa, Sean nodded leaning back in his chair.

“We still need to buy a few items before we leave,” Sean started, “and pack the wagon.” I raised an eyebrow.

“You are taking a wagon? Wont that be hard with the snow?” I asked, moving my wings slightly to try and find a comfortable position.

Sean nodded again, sighing, “With my mate so close to giving birth it would be better,” he gestured toward Adley; she smiled blushing slightly. Mate. He said mate; not wife, not girlfriend, mate. A mate was so much more than a wife or husband, the bond went deeper, was stronger. Two half’s of a puzzle finally connecting.

 I looked between them both, trying to figure out how they were mates, since Sean was most certainly human. “I am part fae,” Adley started brushing back her hair to reveal slightly pointed ears. Nothing like a full fae, but it was still there; which would mean that the fae senses and urges would be the same – maybe a bit dulled, but the same nevertheless.

I looked over at Elora to find her eyes hallow, though her smile seemed unstrained. She was probably thinking about Quin. Probably wondering if they would have been mates. It hurt my heart to see, to think of Quin, to know that if I hadn’t screwed up they would have been happy.

Swallowing down my feelings, I faked a yawn. “Sorry,” I said blinking a few times before rubbing my eyes. “It’s been a long day.” Sean nodded standing.

“Of course! Well, breakfast is free, should you want anything in the morning,” he said. Adley stood as well, before walking over to her mate.

“If you need anything, just ask,” she said softly. “Well, goodnight.” She said before walking off with Sean. I stood, stretching my wings while letting out a sigh. Elora stood up and walked past me without saying anything, her eyes still blank.

I followed after slowly, letting her have her space as we entered our room. There was only one bed at the far end of the room, an old wooden table by the wall, and a chair. “I’m not sharing a bed with you,” Elora said sternly looking back at me; I smiled taking off my jacket.

“I wouldn’t even think of it,” I said striding past her to grab one of the blankets and a pillow off the bed before throwing them onto the ground and laying atop it. Elora paused where she was standing, her eyebrows furrowed together; her expression quizzical before she sat on the bed.

Taking off all her weapons she started to clean them, “Do we trust Sean and Adley?” she asked not looking at me.

“They seemed nice enough,” I started and Elora nodded unsheathing a dagger.

“Sure they are nice, but can we trust them?” I sighed laying down, adjusting my wings to cover me like a blanket.

“I believe so, why?” she didn’t answer, her eyes down cast, her fingers running along the blade’s edge. “Do you not believe they are mates?” I asked, and she shook her head.

“No, no! I believe they are mates – their scents are intermixed like my parents’ were,” she started, finally putting the dagger away. Sighing she looked toward me, “I just have been betrayed many times, I don’t want to get attached to them when they are just going to -” she drifted off looking back down at her hands.

I sat up, laying my chin on my hand “Stab us in the back? Betray us? Kill us? Turn us into the King?” I said, sarcastically finishing her sentence.

Elora stuck her tongue out at me before continuing, “Yes, all those things, and more,” I nodded along.

“Of course there are risks involved; but there are also risks involved in us going alone,” I countered, “I’d rather go with a group, and get close to these people than get stopped alone somewhere. Safety is in numbers Elora.” I must have said something wrong, because Elora quickly finished cleaning her weapons before laying down her back facing me. I laid back down, knowing it was futile to continue the conversation.

“Safety is in numbers,” I heard Elora say before I fell to sleep. 

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